The defending champs looked more like chumps in the 5th as they issued five walks, hit a batter, and committed an error to turn a 1-0 lead into a 7-1 deficit as the Nats took their third straight, 8-1.
Stephen Strasburg gave up the lone Houston run on three hits over two innings and struck out two in his 2018 spring debut. The win went to Brad Kintztler, who also fanned two in his first Grapefruit League outing.
Jose Marmolejos (1-3, R, RBI), Andrew Stevenson (1-3, K), Kelvin Gutierrez (1-2, R, BB, 2RBI), and Rafael Bautista (0-2, R, BB) each reached base while starting the game at 1B, LF, 3B, and RF respectively.
Youth was served with 18-y.o. Yasel Antuna pinch-hitting for DH Bryce Harper and 20-y.o.’s Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles subbing for SS Reid Brignac and CF Brian Goodwin, but the trio combined to go 0-for-5.
“Veteran” minor-leaguer (OK, fine he’s 23 but this is 7th season) Osvaldo Abreu was the only other Watchlist player to appear, taking over 2B from Wilmer Difo and flew out in his lone plate appearance.
Tomorrow is the first of two split-squad games in 2018 Spring training, with one half remaining home to host the Tigers, and the rest going back to Port St. Lucie to take on the Mets. The Nats radio team will broadcast the Detroit-Washington game while the Nats-Mets game can be seen on MLB.tv and heard on MLB Audio (away team feed on both).